Self

16 Tiny Ways To Trick Your Mind Into Feeling ‘Normal’

Photo: Peshkova, Venerala | Canva 
Woman practicing yoga and drinking orange juice

Years ago when I had received an email from the local government ordering all non-essential businesses to close, I decided to close my in-person hypnotherapy practice, and I thought it was the end of the world. Now, sitting at home with my three boys, I stare at the gloomy images on TV of our world. These images negatively impact your mental health and happiness whether you realize it or not, and your emotional state will eventually show it.

The last time I felt like this was during a wave of anti-Semitic pogroms in Soviet Russia when I was hiding in my tiny apartment with my newborn son, staring into a bare fridge, shortly before we escaped to America. And now, this current climate of uncertainty is once again triggering my deep-seated fears of survival. By the end of the day, they’ve evolved into a solidified rock of stress, weighing heavy on my heart.

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Being a mental health practitioner for over a decade, I know there are two ways to deal with any problem at hand, both equally important:

  • Emotional — how you feel about the situation
  • Practical — things you can do about the situation

For me, it usually starts with dealing with emotions first. So, I decide to use a simple self-hypnosis technique to let the ball of stress out of my body. It’s the same thing I teach my kids to do when they feel stressed at school. I close my eyes and focus on my breathing, imagining the darkness I sense in my chest floating out of me and forming a balloon. Feeling the tug of the string, I decided to let go and watch it dissolve into the blazing sun above. This works for me, but you can do other things to help keep your calm and maintain the mental health of you and your family. In these extraordinary times, you have to try new things to make sure you're keeping yourself afloat.

Here are 16 tiny ways to trick your mind into feeling ‘normal’ during extraordinary times:

1. Put your best foot forward

Wear your favorite lipstick and nail polish (even at home). This will give you a little confidence boost.

2. Put on your favorite piece of jewelry

Acts of self-care elevate your mood. Put on that new dress you haven't had a chance to wear yet. 

3. Go outside and feel the sun on your skin

The sun is great for vitamin D and "happy chemicals." How can someone be sad with the sun shining on them?

4. Walk, stretch, or do yoga

If going to the gym is too much, you can stay physically active in the comfort of your home.

   

   

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5. Be mindful of eating

It’s easy to overeat when you’re stuck at home. Keep your blood sugar constant with healthy foods like nuts, fruit, hummus, and chicken soup. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water and herbal tea with honey and lemon.

6. Take calming showers

Or try bathing with lavender or Epsom salts and aromatherapy oils that relax and rejuvenate. Light a bunch of candles and enjoy a nice hot bath after work.

7. Boost your immune system with supplements

Consider vitamin C, zinc, Echinacea, and goldenseal — they’re all immune strengtheners.

8. Connect with happy memories through photos and home videos, or binge on Netflix or books

Do things you’ve always wanted to do but were too busy to do. With extra time on your hands, you have an excuse to self-indulge.

9. Walk your neighborhood, give a cheerful wave to your neighbors, and say hello to strangers

You can use this opportunity to connect to and encourage each other. Take it one step further and try to find local meetups that you can go to and meet new friends. 

10. Talk to your spouse and kids

Get out the board games. Life on pause can be an opportunity to rediscover one another.

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11. Write or draw in your journal

Expressing fears on paper brings relief and can put things in perspective. It's also helpful to write a gratitude list.

   

   

12. Take an online class

On any subject, from making a pie to writing a novel. You can learn a new skill all from your own home.

13. Meditate

Explore YouTube for tips on how to keep your mind calm during a crisis, and check out the many guided meditations for children online. My favorites are Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer.

14. Organize your medicine cabinet, pantry, and closets

De-cluttering can be a symbolic act of emotional release. Cleaning can help release stress and no one wants to be sad in a messy room.

15. Call, Skype, or FaceTime your family and people you have not talked to in years

Ask how they’re doing and offer help. A crisis can be an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and reconnect.

16. Stay socially connected on your neighborhood blog

I see a lot of neighbors offering tips and advice, proposing help, or asking for help. This way you don’t feel alone while going through difficult times. Honestly, this breakdown feels like a global reset — an opportunity to pause and self-reflect. So, show yourself in these times of uncertainty that you can be your constant; that you can give yourself attention, nourishment, and love while discovering ways to maintain your balance.

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Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a Medical Hypnotherapist and Holistic Consultant. She is the author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family.